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How to Set Up SSO with Kerberos

Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.0

For Use with Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.0

Red Hat Customer Content Services


The intent of this guide is to explore the topic of single sign-on (SSO) with Kerberos within Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.0 as well as provide a practical guide for setting up SSO with Kerberos in JBoss EAP. Essentially this guide is providing a deeper dive into what SSO with Kerberos is as well as how to set up and configure it within JBoss EAP. Before reading this guide, users should read through the Security Architecture document for Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.0 and have a solid understanding of the SSO and Kerberos information presented in that document. This document also makes use of the JBoss EAP CLI interface for performing configuration changes. For more information on using the CLI for both standalone JBoss EAP instances as well as JBoss EAP domains, please consult the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Management CLI Guide. When completing this document, readers should have a solid, working understanding of SSO and Kerberos, how it relates to JBoss EAP, and how to configure it.

Chapter 1. SSO with Kerberos Deeper Dive

1.1. What are SSO and Kerberos?

A basic background of SSO and Kerberos are provided in the Single Sign On section of the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Security Architecture document.

1.2. Kerberos Components

Kerberos itself is a network protocol that enables authentication for users of client/server applications through the use of secret-key cryptography. Kerberos is usually used for authenticating desktop users on networks, but through the use of some additional tools, it can be used to authenticate users to web applications and to provide SSO for a set of web applications. This essentially allows users who have already authenticated on their desktop network to seamlessly access secured resources in web applications without having to re-authenticate. This concept is known as Desktop-Based SSO since the user is being authenticated via a desktop-based authentication mechanism, and their authentication token or ticket is being used by the web application as well. This differs from other SSO mechanisms such as Browser-Based SSO, which authenticates users and issues tokens all via the browser.

The Kerberos protocol defines several components that it uses in authentication and authorization:


A Ticket is a form of a security token that Kerberos uses for issuing and making authentication and authorization decisions about principals.

Authentication Service

The Authentication Service, or AS, challenges principals to log in when they first log into the network. The authentication service is responsible for issuing a Ticket Granting Ticket or TGT, which is needed for authenticating against the Ticket Granting Service and subsequent access to secured services and resources.

Ticket Granting Service

The Ticket Granting Service, or TGS, is responsible for issuing Service Tickets and specific session information to principals and the target server they are attempting to access. This is based on the TGT and destination information provided by the principal. This service ticket and session information is then used to establish a connection to the destination and access the desired secured service or resource.

Key Distribution Center

The Key Distribution Center, or KDC, is the component that houses both the TGS and AS. The KDC, along with the client, or principal, and server, or secured service, are the three pieces required to perform Kerberos authentication.

Ticket Granting Ticket

A Ticket Granting Ticket, or TGT, is a type of ticket issued to a principal by the AS. The TGT is granted once a principal successfully authenticates against the AS using their username and password. The TGT is cached locally by the client, but is encrypted such that only the KDC can read it and is unreadable by the client. This allows the AS to securely store authorization data and other information in the TGT for use by the TGS and enabling the TGS to make authorization decisions using this data.

Service Ticket

A Service Ticket, or ST, is a type of ticket issued to a principal by the TGS based on their TGT and the intended destination. The principal provides the TGS with their TGT and the intended destination, and the TGS verifies the principal has access to the destination based on the authorization data in the TGT. If successful, the TGS issues an ST to the client for both the client as well as the destination server which is the server containing secured service/resource. This grants the client access to the destination server. The ST, which is cached by the client and readable by both the client and server, also contains session information that allows the client and server to communicate securely.


There is a tight relationship between Kerberos and the DNS settings of the network. For instance, certain assumptions are made when clients access the KDC based on the name of the host it is running on. As a result, it is important that all DNS settings in addition to the Kerberos settings are properly configured to ensure that clients can connect.

1.3. Additional Components

In addition to the Kerberos components, several other items are needed to enable Kerberos SSO with JBoss EAP.

1.3.1. SPNEGO

Simple and Protected GSSAPI Negotiation Mechanism or SPNEGO provides a mechanism for extending a Kerberos-based Single Sign On environment for use in Web applications.

SPNEGO is an authentication method used by a client application to authenticate itself to the server. This technology is used when the client application and server are trying to communicate with each other, but neither are sure of the authentication protocol the other supports. SPNEGO determines the common GSSAPI mechanisms between the client application and the server and then dispatches all further security operations to it.

When an application on a client computer, such as a web browser, attempts to access a protected page on the web server, the server responds that authorization is required. The application then requests a service ticket from the Kerberos KDC. After the ticket is obtained, the application wraps it in a request formatted for SPNEGO, and sends it back to the web application, via the browser. The web container running the deployed web application unpacks the request and attempts to authenticate the ticket. Upon successful authentication, access is granted.

SPNEGO works with all types of Kerberos providers, including the Kerberos service included in Red Hat Enterprise Linux and the Kerberos server, which is an integral part of Microsoft Active Directory.

1.3.2. JBoss Negotiation

JBoss Negotiation is a framework that ships with JBoss EAP that provides an authenticator and JAAS login module to support SPNEGO in JBoss EAP. For more information on JAAS login modules, please see the Declarative Security and JAAS and Security Domains sections of the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Security Architecture Guide.


When using JBoss Negotiation to secure certain applications, such as REST web services, one or more sessions may be created and left open for the timeout period, default is 30 minutes, when a client makes a request. This differs from the expected behavior of securing an application via basic authentication, which would leave no open sessions. JBoss Negotiation is implemented to use sessions to maintain the state of the negotiation/connection so the creation of these sessions is expected behavior.

1.4. Kerberos Integration

Kerberos is integrated with many operating systems including linux distributions such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Kerberos is also an integral part of Microsoft Active Directory and is supported by Red Hat Directory Server and Red Hat IDM.

1.5. How does Kerberos provide SSO for JBoss EAP?

Kerberos provides Desktop-based SSO by issuing tickets from a KDC for use by the client and server. JBoss EAP can integrate with this existing process by using those same tickets in its own authentication and authorization process. Before trying to understand how JBoss EAP can reuse those tickets, it is best to first understand in greater detail how these tickets are issued as well as how authentication and authorization works with Kerberos in Desktop-Based SSO without JBoss EAP.

1.5.1. Authentication and Authorization with Kerberos in Desktop-Based SSO

To provide authentication and authorization, Kerberos relies on a third party, the KDC, to provide authentication and authorization decisions for clients accessing servers. These decisions happen in three steps:

  1. Authentication exchange.

    When a principal first accesses the network or attempts to access a secured service without a Ticket Granting Ticket, they are challenged to authenticate against the Authentication Service with their credentials. The AS validates the user’s provided credentials against the configured identity store, and upon successful authentication, the principal is issued a TGT which is cached by the client. The TGT also contains some session information so future communication between the client and KDC is secured.

  2. Ticket granting, or authorization, exchange.

    Once the principal has been issued a TGT, they may attempt to access secured services/resources. The principal sends a request to the Ticket Granting Service, passing the TGT it was issued by the KDC and requesting a Service Ticket for a specific destination. The TGS checks the TGT provided by the principal and verifies they have proper permissions to access the requested resource. If successful, the TGS issues an ST for the principal to access that specific destination. The TGS also creates session information for both the client as well as the destination server to allow for secure communication between the two. This session information is encrypted separately such that the client and server can only decrypt its own session information using long-term keys separately provided by the KDC to each, from previous transactions. The TGS then responds to the client with the ST which includes the session information for both the client and server.

  3. Accessing the server.

    Now that the principal has an ST for the secured service as well as a mechanism for secure communication to that server, client may now establish a connection and attempt to access the secured resource. Client starts by passing to the destination server the ST, which also contains the server component of the session information, it received from the TGS for that destination. The server attempts to decrypt the session information passed to it by the client using its long-term key from the KDC. If it succeeds, the client has been successfully authenticated to the server and the server is also considered authenticated to the client. At this point, trust has been established and secured communication between the client and server may proceed.


Despite the fact that unauthorized principals cannot actually use a TGT, a principal will only be issued a TGT after they first successfully authenticate with the AS. Not only does this ensure that only properly authorized principals are ever issued a TGT, it also reduces the ability for unauthorized third parties to obtain TGTs in an attempt to compromise and/or exploit them, for example using offline dictionary/brute-force attacks.

1.5.2. Kerberos and JBoss EAP

JBoss EAP can integrate with an existing Kerberos Desktop-Based SSO environment to allow for those same tickets to provide access to web applications hosted on JBoss EAP instances. In a typical setup, an JBoss EAP instance would be configured to have Kerberos and SPNEGO security domains. An application, configured to use those security domains along with JBoss Negotiation, is deployed to that JBoss EAP instance. A user logs in to a desktop, which is governed by the Kerberos, and completes an authentication exchange with the KDC. The user then attempts to access a secured resource in the deployed application on that JBoss EAP instance directly via a web browser. JBoss EAP responds that authorization is required to access the secured resource. The web browser obtains the user’s TGT ticket and then performs the ticket granting, or authorization, exchange with the KDC to validate the user and obtain a service ticket. Once the ST is returned to the browser, it wraps the ST in a request formatted for SPNEGO, and sends it back to the Web application running on JBoss EAP. JBoss EAP then unpacks the SPNEGO request and performs the authentication using the configured security domains and JBoss Negotiation. If the authentication succeeds, the user is granted access to the secured resource.

Chapter 2. How to Set Up SSO for JBoss EAP with Kerberos

This section covers how to configure JBoss EAP and the deployed applications to use Kerberos for SSO.

2.1. Components

The following components are needed for setting SSO for JBoss EAP with Kerberos:

  • A properly configured Kerberos environment
  • A JBoss EAP instance
  • A web application

2.1.1. JBoss Negotiation Toolkit

The JBoss Negotiation Toolkit is a debugging tool to help users debug and test authentication mechanisms before introducing an application into production. It is an unsupported tool but can be very helpful, as SPNEGO can be difficult to configure for web applications.

You can download a prebuilt WAR file of the JBoss Negotiation Toolkit here. You should download the version of JBoss Negotiation Toolkit that matches the version of JBoss Negotiation included in JBoss EAP. For example, if you are using JBoss EAP 7.0.0, which uses JBoss Negotiation 3.0.2.Final-redhat-1, you should use jboss-negotiation-toolkit-3.0.2.Final.war. You can determine which version of JBoss Negotiation is being used by looking at EAP_HOME/modules/system/layers/base/org/jboss/security/negotiation/main/module.xml.

2.1.2. Kerberos Environment

As discussed in a previous section, Kerberos relies on a third party, the KDC, to provide authentication and authorization decisions. This also requires clients, for example browsers, and their host to be properly configured to authenticate with the KDC. This guide is primarily focused on how to configure JBoss EAP and its hosted web applications so configuring the KDC and Kerberos domain are not in the scope of this document.


The subsequent sections assume a KDC and Kerberos domain have already been set up and properly configured.

2.1.3. Differences from Configuring Previous Versions JBoss EAP

There are a few noticeable differences between JBoss EAP 7 and earlier versions:

  • The NegotiationAuthenticator valve is no longer required in the jboss-web.xml, but there still must be a <security-constraint> and <login-config> elements to be defined in the web.xml. These are used to decide which resources are secured.
  • The auth-method element in the <login-config> element is now a comma-separated list. The exact value SPNEGO must be there and should appear first in that list. In cases where FORM authentication is desired as a fallback, the exact value would be SPNEGO,FORM.

2.1.4. Configuring the JBoss EAP Instance

JBoss EAP comes with all the components necessary to use Kerberos, using SPNEGO and JBoss Negotiation, for SSO with deployed applications, but the following configuration changes need to be made:


The management CLI commands shown assume that you are running a JBoss EAP standalone server. For more details on using the management CLI for a JBoss EAP managed domain, please see the JBoss EAP Management CLI Guide.

  1. Configure the server identity, or host, security domain

    This security domain authenticates the container itself to the KDC. It needs to use a login module which accepts a static login mechanism since a real user is not involved in this connection. The following example uses a static principal and references a keytab file which contains the credential.

    Example CLI for Creating a Server Identity Security Domain

    /subsystem=security/security-domain=host/authentication=classic/login-module=Kerberos:add(code=Kerberos, flag=required, module-options=[storeKey=true, refreshKrb5Config=true, useKeyTab=true, principal=host/testserver@MY_REALM, keyTab=/home/username/service.keytab, doNotPrompt=true, debug=false])

    If using the IBM JDK, the options for Kerberos module are different. The system property must be set to true, see Configure relevant system properties. In addition, the login module should be updated to the following:

    IBM JDK Example

    <security-domain name="host" cache-type="default">
        <login-module code="Kerberos" flag="required">
          <module-option name="principal" value="HTTP/testserver@MY_REALM"/>
          <module-option name="credsType" value="acceptor"/>
          <module-option name="useKeytab" value="file:///root/keytab"/>

    For a complete list of options for configuring the Kerberos login module, refer to the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Login Module Reference.

  2. Configuring Web Application Security Domain

    The web application security domain is used to authenticate the individual user to the KDC. There needs to be at least one login module to authenticate the user, and a way to search for the roles to apply to the user. The latter can be accomplished in many different ways, for example adding a <mapping> that manually maps users to roles, adding a second login module for mapping users to roles, and so on.

    The following shows an example web application security domain.

    Example CLI for Creating a Server Identity Security Domain

    /subsystem=security/security-domain=app-spnego/authentication=classic/login-module=SPNEGO:add(code=SPNEGO, flag=required, module-options=[serverSecurityDomain=host])

    For a complete list of options for configuring the SPNEGO login module, refer to the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Login Module Reference.

  3. Configure relevant system properties

    JBoss EAP offers the ability to configure system properties related to connecting to Kerberos servers. Depending on the KDC, Kerberos Domain, and network configuration, the following system properties may or may not be required.

      <property name="" value="mykdc.mydomain"/>
      <property name="" value="MY_REALM"/>
      <property name="" value="/path/to/krb5.conf"/>
      <property name="" value="true"/>
      <property name="" value="false"/>

    The host name of the KDC

    The name of the realm

    The path to the configuration krb5.conf file

    When set to true, disables automatic adding of login module option to login modules declared in the security domain. Must be set to true when using the IBM JDK

    If true, debugging mode will be enabled


    By default, each login module defined in a security domain has the module option added to it automatically. This option causes problems with login modules which check to make sure that only known options are defined. The IBM Kerberos login module, is one of these. This behavior of adding this module option can disabled by setting the system property to true when starting JBoss EAP. This can be accomplished by configuring the <system-properties>, using the Management CLI or Management Console, or by adding to the start-up parameters.

    For more information about configuring system properties, refer to the Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform Management CLI Guide.

2.1.5. Configuring the Web Application

Once the security domains have been configured, the web application must be configured to use those security domains in order to enable Kerberos authentication. Once the application changes have been made, it may be deployed to the JBoss EAP instance and begin using Kerberos for authentication.

The following updates must be made the application:

  1. Configure the web.xml to use the SPNEGO authentication method.

    The web.xml file should contain the following:

    • A <security-constraint> with a <web-resource-collection> containing a <url-pattern> that maps to the URL pattern of the secured area. Optionally, <security-constraint> may also contain an <auth-constraint> stipulating the allowed roles.
    • If any roles were specified in the <auth-constraint>, those roles should be defined in a <security-role>.
    • A <login-config> containing a <auth-method> with the exact value of SPNEGO.


      The <auth-method> element expects a comma-separated list of specific values. For SPNEGO authentication to be properly configured, the exact value SPNEGO must appear in the <auth-method> element and should appear first. Incorporating additional authentication types is discussed in a later section.

      The <security-constraint> and <security-role> elements enable administrators to setup restricted or unrestricted areas based on URL patterns and roles. This allows resources to be secured or unsecured.

      Example web.xml file:

        <!-- Define a security constraint that requires the All role to access resources -->
          <display-name>Security Constraint on Conversation</display-name>
        <!-- Define the Login Configuration for this Application -->
        <!-- Security roles referenced by this web application -->
          <description>Role required to log in to the Application</description>

  2. Configure jboss-web.xml to use the configured security domain.

    The jboss-web.xml file should have the following:

    • A <security-domain> to specify which security domain to use for authentication and authorization.
    • Optional: A <jacc-star-role-allow>, which enables the use of the asterisk character in role-name element in web.xml to match multiple role names.

      An example jboss-web.xml file:


  3. Add the JBoss Negotiation dependencies to the deployment.

    A web application using SPNEGO and JBoss Negotiation requires a dependency to be defined in jboss-deployment-structure.xml so that the JBoss Negotiation classes can be located. Since JBoss EAP provides all necessary JBoss Negotiation and related classes, the application just needs to declare them as dependencies to use them.

    Using jboss-deployment-structure.xml to declare dependencies

          <module name=""/>

    Alternatively, this dependency may be defined in a META-INF/MANIFEST.MF file instead:

    Using META-INF/MANIFEST.MF to declare dependencies

    Manifest-Version: 1.0

2.2. Additional Considerations for Active Directory

This section describes how to configure the accounts required for JBoss Negotiation to be used when JBoss EAP is running on a Microsoft Windows server, which is a part of the Active Directory domain.

In this section, the hostname that is used to access the server as is referred to as HOSTNAME, realm is referred to as REALM, domain is referred to as DOMAIN, and the server hosting the JBoss EAP instance is referred to as MACHINE_NAME. ⁠

2.2.1. Configure JBoss Negotiation for Microsoft Windows Domain

  1. Clear existing service principal mappings.

    On a Microsoft Windows network some mappings are created automatically. Delete the automatically created mappings to map the identity of the server to the service principal for negotiation to take place correctly. The mapping enables the web browser on the client computer to trust the server and attempt SPNEGO. The client computer verifies with the domain controller for a mapping in the form of HTTP/HOSTNAME.

    The following are the steps to delete the existing mappings:

    List the mapping registered with the domain for the computer using the command:

    setspn -L MACHINE_NAME

    Delete the existing mappings using the commands:


    setspn -D host/HOSTNAME MACHINE_NAME
  2. Create a host user account.


    Ensure the host user name is different from the MACHINE_NAME.

    In the rest of the section the host user name is referred to as USER_NAME.

  3. Define the mapping between the USER_NAME and HOSTNAME.

    Run the following command to configure the Service Principal Mapping:

    ktpass -princ HTTP/HOSTNAME@REALM -pass * -mapuser DOMAIN\USER_NAME

    Enter the password for the user name, when prompted.


    Reset the password for the user name as it is a prerequisite for exporting the keytab.

    Verify the mapping by running the following command, setspn -L USER_NAME

  4. Export the keytab of the user to the server on which JBoss EAP is installed.

    Run the following command to export the keytab:

    ktab -k service.keytab -a HTTP/HOSTNAME@REALM

    This command exports the ticket for the HTTP/HOSTNAME principal to the keytab service.keytab, which is used to configure the host security domain on JBoss EAP.

  5. Define the principal within the security domain.

    The principal can be defined or updated in the security domain as follows:

    <module-option name="principal">HTTP/HOSTNAME@REALM</module-option>

Chapter 3. Additional Features

3.1. Adding a FORM Login as a Fallback

JBoss EAP and applications deployed to it can also configure a FORM login authentication mechanism to use as a fallback. This allows applications to present a login page for authentication in cases where a Keberos/SPNEGO tokens are not present. This authentication happens independent of the Kerberos authentication. As a result, depending on how the FORM login fallback is configured, users may require separate credentials to authenticate via this method.


The fallback to FORM logic is available in case when no SPNEGO or NTLM tokens are present or, when a SPNEGO token is present, but from another KDC.

The following steps are required to configure FORM login as a fallback:

  1. Configure JBoss EAP and the web application to use Kerberos and SPNEGO.

    You can use the following commands to configure the security domains required by the FORM login authentication mechanism. For full instructions, see the previous section for the steps required to configure JBoss EAP and web applications to use Kerberos and SPNEGO for authentication and authorization.

    /subsystem=security/security-domain=app-spnego/authentication=classic/login-module=SPNEGO:add(code=SPNEGO, flag=required, module-options=[password-stacking=useFirstPass, serverSecurityDomain=host])
    /subsystem=security/security-domain=app-spnego/authentication=classic/login-module=UsersRoles:add(code=UsersRoles, flag=required, module-options=[password-stacking=useFirstPass, usersProperties="file:${jboss.server.config.dir}/", rolesProperties="file:${jboss.server.config.dir}/"])
  2. Update the security domain for fallback authentication

    The web application security domain must be configured to support a fallback login mechanism. This requires the following steps:

    • Add a new security domain to serve as a fallback authentication method.

      /subsystem=security/security-domain=app-fallback/authentication=classic/login-module=UsersRoles:add(code=UsersRoles, flag=required, module-options=[usersProperties="file:${jboss.server.config.dir}/", rolesProperties="file:${jboss.server.config.dir}/"])
    • Add a usernamePasswordDomain module option to the web application security domain that points to the fallback domain.

      /subsystem=security/security-domain=app-spnego/authentication=classic/login-module=SPNEGO:map-put(name=module-options, key=usernamePasswordDomain, value=app-fallback)
    • Reload the server for the changes to take effect.

    • After completing the above steps the following configuration is created.

      Example: Security Domain Configured with a Fallback Security Domain

      <security-domain name="app-spnego" cache-type="default">
          <login-module code="SPNEGO" flag="requisite">
            <module-option name="password-stacking" value="useFirstPass"/>
            <module-option name="serverSecurityDomain" value="host"/>
            <module-option name="usernamePasswordDomain" value="app-fallback"/>
          <!--login module for mapping roles -->
          <login-module code="UsersRoles" flag="required">
            <module-option name="password-stacking" value="useFirstPass"/>
            <module-option name="usersProperties" value="file:${jboss.server.config.dir}/"/>
            <module-option name="rolesProperties" value="file:${jboss.server.config.dir}/"/>
      <security-domain name="app-fallback" cache-type="default">
          <login-module code="UsersRoles" flag="required">
            <module-option name="usersProperties" value="file:${jboss.server.config.dir}/"/>
            <module-option name="rolesProperties" value="file:${jboss.server.config.dir}/"/>

  3. Add the login and error pages

    To use FORM login, a login and error page are required. These files are added to web application and are used in the authentication process.

    Example login.jsp file:

        <form id="login_form" name="login_form" method="post" action="j_security_check" enctype="application/x-www-form-urlencoded">
          <center> <p>Please login to proceed.</p> </center>
          <div style="margin-left: 15px;">
            <p> <label for="username">Username</label> <br /> <input id="username" type="text" name="j_username"/> </p>
            <p> <label for="password">Password</label> <br /> <input id="password" type="password" name="j_password" value=""/> </p>
            <center> <input id="submit" type="submit" name="submit" value="Login"/> </center>

    Example error.jsp file:

        <p>Login failed, please go back and try again.</p>

  4. Modify the web.xml

    After adding the login and error pages to the web application, the web.xml must be updated to use these files for FORM login. The exact value FORM must be added to the <auth-method> element. Since <auth-method> expects a comma-separated list and order is significant, the exact value for <auth-method> must be updated to SPNEGO,FORM. In addition, a <form-login-config> element must be added to <login-config> and the paths to the login and error pages specified as <form-login-page> and <form-error-page> elements.

    Example updated web.xml file:

      <!-- Define a security constraint that requires the All role to access resources -->
        <display-name>Security Constraint on Conversation</display-name>
      <!-- Define the Login Configuration for this Application -->
      <!-- Security roles referenced by this web application -->
        <description> role required to log in to the Application</description>

3.2. Securing the Management Interfaces with Kerberos

In addition to providing Kerberos authentication in security domains, JBoss EAP also provides the ability to secure the management interfaces using Kerberos. To enable Kerberos authentication on the management interfaces, the following steps must be performed:


The management CLI commands shown assume that you are running a JBoss EAP standalone server. For more details on using the management CLI for a JBoss EAP managed domain, please see the JBoss EAP Management CLI Guide.

  1. Enable the relevant system properties.

    As discussed in a previous section, enable any needed JBoss EAP system properties for connecting to the Kerberos server.

  2. Add the Kerberos server identity to the security realm.

    Before Kerberos authentication can be used in a security realm, a connection to a Kerberos server must be added. The following example shows how to add a Kerberos server identity to the existing Management Realm. You will need to replace service-name, hostname, and MY-REALM with the appropriate values.

    Example CLI for Adding a Server Identity to a Security Realm

    /core-service=management/security-realm=ManagementRealm/server-identity=kerberos/keytab=service-name\/hostname@MY-REALM:add( path=/home\/username\/service.keytab,debug=true)


    When configuring Kerberos authentication with the management interfaces, it is very important that you pay close attention to the service principal you configure for JBoss EAP to authenticate against the KDC. This service principal takes the form of service-name/hostname. JBoss EAP expects HTTP to be the service name, for example HTTP/localhost, when authenticating against the web-based management console and remote to be the service name, for example remote/localhost, for the management CLI.

  3. Update the authentication method in the security realm.

    Once the Kerberos server identity has been properly configured, the authentication method in the security realm needs to be updated to use it.

    Example CLI for Adding Kerberos Authentication to a Security Realm



    Based on the order you have defined in the <authentication> element in the security realm, JBoss EAP will attempt to authenticate the user in that order when accessing the management interfaces.

  4. Securing Both Interfaces with Kerberos. In cases where you would like to secure both the web-based management console and management CLI with Kerberos, you need a Kerberos server identity configured for each.

    Example Security Realm with Multiple Kerberos Server Identities

    <security-realm name="ManagementRealm">
          <keytab principal="HTTP/hostname@MY-REALM" path="/home/username/http.keytab" debug="true"/>
          <keytab principal="remote/hostname@MY-REALM" path="/home/username/remote.keytab" debug="true"/>
        <local default-user="$local" skip-group-loading="true"/>
        <properties path="" relative-to="jboss.server.config.dir"/>

3.2.1. Connecting to the Management Interface

Before attempting to connect to the management interfaces, you need to have a valid Kerberos ticket. If the security realm fails to authenticate a user via Kerberos, it will attempt authenticate the user using any of the subsequent methods specified in the <authentication> element.

When you connect to the web-based management console via a browser, the security realm will attempt to authenticate you based on that ticket.

When connecting to the management CLI, you will need to use the parameter, as this allows the GSSAPI implementation to make use of the identity managed at the OS level. You may also need to use the following parameters based on how your environment is setup:
Specifies the realm name.
Specifies the location of the KDC
Disables local authentication. This is useful if you are attempting to connect to a JBoss EAP instance running on the same machine you are running the script from.

Example Command

./ -c --no-local-auth

3.3. Kerberos Authentication Integration for Remoting

In addition to using Kerberos for securing the management interfaces and web applications, you can also configure Kerberos authentication for services accessed via remoting, such as EJBs. To configure Kerberos authentication, you will need to do the following:

  1. Configure a security domain with remoting and RealmDirect

    You need to configure a security domain for use by the service that is accessed by remoting. This security domain needs to make use of both the Remoting login module as well as a RealmDirect login module, such as RealmDirect or RealmUsersRoles. Essentially, it should look very similar to the other security domain provided by default. For more details on the specific configuration options of each login module, see the JBoss EAP Login Module Guide.

    Example Security Domain with Remoting and RealmDirect Login Modules

    <security-domain name="krb-remoting-domain">
        <login-module code="Remoting" flag="optional">
          <module-option name="password-stacking" value="useFirstPass"/>
        <login-module code="RealmDirect" flag="required">
          <module-option name="password-stacking" value="useFirstPass"/>
          <module-option name="realm" value="krbRealm"/>
          <mapping-module code="SimpleRoles" type="role">
              <module-option name="testUser" value="testRole"/>

  2. Configure a security realm for Kerberos authentication

    Setting up a security realm with Kerberos authentication is covered in the Securing the Management Interfaces with Kerberos section.

    Example Security Realm

    <security-realm name="krbRealm">
                <keytab principal="remote/localhost@JBOSS.ORG" path="/path/to/remote.keytab" debug="true"/>
            <kerberos remove-realm="true"/>
            <properties path="" relative-to="jboss.server.config.dir"/>

  3. Configure the HTTP connector in the remoting subsystem to use the security realm

    In addition, you will need to configure the http connector in the remoting subsystem to use the newly created security realm.

    Example Remoting

    <subsystem xmlns="urn:jboss:domain:remoting:3.0">
      <http-connector name="http-remoting-connector" connector-ref="default" security-realm="krbRealm"/>

  4. Configure security for the service

    You will also need to setup the service that is accessed via the remoting interface to secured. This will vary depending on the service. For example, with an EJB you could use the @SecurityDomain, org.jboss.ejb3.annotation.SecurityDomain, and @RolesAllowed,, annotations.

Revised on 2018-02-08 10:16:50 EST

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